PLEASANTVILLE — Nearly 200 teenagers walked across the Pleasantville High School football field for the final time as high school students Thursday evening.
Twin sisters — Valedictorian Stephanie Campos and Salutatorian Nicole Campos — told their classmates to “reach for the stars” because “nothing is impossible.”
“It does not matter what it is you want to achieve, just try. But don’t just try — reach for the stars, because if you fail you will still land on top of the world. And that’s where I’ve landed,” said Stephanie Campos, who was also the class president.
Campos planned on attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where she was initially accepted, but was later disqualified due to impaired vision.
“Just because one door closes doesn’t mean it is all over,” said Campos, adding she now has to establish new goals after being just 48 days shy of realizing her lifelong dream. “I will push through this.”
Nicole Campos, meanwhile, talked about the major challenges she has battled, including being a full-time student and mother.
“I was forced to make a decision and I decided to do what’s right and take responsibility for my (actions). … I faced many obstacles, but never let anything deter me from my goal,” said Nicole Campos, who plans on attending The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in the fall. “The sky is not the limit. Nothing is impossible.”
Odalis Quiles, class vice president, also encouraged the graduates to strive for their dreams with “a strong spirit and a positive attitude.”
“With hard work and dedication, we will continue to be rewarded by a promising future,” said Quiles, who has enlisted with the U.S. Army Reserves. “We have the potential to shape history. … It is time to say goodbye and meet the new beginning of our lives.”
Superintendent Garnell Bailey jokingly reminded the students that the district’s staff loved them and kept them safe “in spite of it all,” before giving them a tip on how to succeed in life.
“The key to success is to be unstoppable,” she said. “Be unstoppable.”
Principal Stephen Townsend said the graduates were about to learn the final lesson of what it means to be adults.
“After they leave us tonight, they join us as neighbors and peers, fully enfranchised members of the community and the greatest country in the world,” Townsend said, then gave them final bits of encouragement. “You are greater than you think you are. … Failure is not the worst thing that could happen. Failing to try is.”
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